EUROPE – The European Commissioner in change of the internal market, Charlie McCreevy, has identified the “patchwork quilt” of hedge fund regulation in Europe as something that needs to be looked at.

McCreevy told an audience in Dublin that there is currently no common regulatory approach to hedge funds within the European Union.

He said: “Many national regulators have however responded individually which in turn has given rise to something of a patchwork quilt of rules across the member states.

“The extent to which this might limit the future efficient development of the alternative investment market is something that needs to be explored.

“We need to see if at EU level we can facilitate the development of this sector in a way that stimulates greater efficiency for operators.”

Speaking at the Annual Global Funds Conference hosted by the Dublin Funds Industry Association and the National Investment Company Service Association, he also expressed concern over investor protection and the possible economic impact of hedge funds.

He said: “Regulators examining these changes in the landscape are focused specifically on the potential implications for unwary investors and for the possible impact of some of the investment and trading strategies in a macroeconomic context.”

But he said the Commission would try to keep a balance. “We don’t want to end up with rules that place excessive restrictions on financial innovation or that smother the market’s ability to efficiently meet real investor needs.”

The London-based Centre for Economics and Business Research yesterday likened investing in hedge funds to betting on horses, according to a Reuters news report.